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Fontana Regional Library receives federal grant to better serve Macon, Jackson, and Swain Counties 

The State Library of North Carolina announced this week the SLNC Adapts Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant awardees. The 45 awards, totaling nearly $1.6 million, support local library projects that target high-need communities to address digital inclusion, expand digital network access, purchase internet-accessible devices, provide related technical support in response to the coronavirus, and support community needs.

Fontana Regional Library received two grants for a total of $116,007.

Digital Seniors: $91,049.00

This project addresses the digital divide as it is experienced by senior citizens who lack access to the internet, who do not have digital skills, or who may not recognize the benefits of internet connectivity.  The goal is to provide seniors with both the technology (including internet connectivity) and the skills they need to use digital devices to explore the internet in a way that is meaningful to them on an individual basis. The Library will provide initial home set-up and  ongoing one-on-one instruction on using a Chromebook and wi-fi hotspot that participants check out for the duration of the grant period.

Launchpad Learning: $24,958.00

For families without home internet and for parents who may lack skills to guide their children in the online environment, non-connected devices pre-loaded with curriculum-aligned literacy learning software are a viable alternative.  Fontana Regional Library will create a circulating collection of Launchpad digital learning tablets. These devices provide the advantages of “online” learning without the internet, thereby addressing the digital divide from the other side of the chasm and fostering equitable access to digital tools even without an internet connection. The Launchpads will also assist parents in learning basic digital skills as they work with their children in the parent-and-child-together modules offered on the devices.

The State Library received funding as part of the federal government’s investment in museums and libraries through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which provided additional funds to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support vital library programs and services in local communities.

These grant awards are made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-250229-OLS-21).

LSTA grants are awarded in response to specific needs of public, academic, and community college libraries. These federal funds are investments that help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services to their communities.

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